Here’s a little Dresden Files RPG lovin’ to round out your Valentine’s Day.
John Hawkins says:
Actually, Iâ€™m a liar, one question does present itself: Iâ€™ve seen Channeling mentioned in a couple of places now, but itâ€™s not obvious to me how it differs from Evocation. At 2/3 the cost I assume itâ€™s not super limited â€” can you talk a bit about how it works?
Rechan jumped all over this one on the comment thread, and I’ve really got nothing to add. Thanks, Rechan!
Mike Ryan says:
Your enthusiasm is giving me some high hopes for this game. Iâ€™m looking forward to the release.
I think your hopes will all be rewarded.
1. SotC was full of examples, and itâ€™s probably safe to assume DF will be as well. Are those examples drawn solely from the novels, or do the playtest groups get some love? I can see the value of using just the books, but the playtesters (your group and others) have put some really cool things out there and it might be interesting to see it referenced beyond just an acknowledgments page.
From my reading, the examples come either from the novels or from a fictitious (I’m assuming) game being run by Billy Borden. I think it’s probably more than enough material to wade through in the novels that combing playtest reports for the right kind of example is just a time sink without any return on it except for a playtest group here and there being able to go “Cool! That was us!” While this kind of cool is nice for the playtesters, I would rather they spent their time putting cool into the game system itself. And they really did.
But yeah, there are lots of examples, which is great, coupled with the marginal notes and conversations that really help illuminate the rules and discuss special cases.
2. Youâ€™ve mentioned things like the Feeding Dependancy. Does a character with a limitation like that have to map all of his powers to that dependency? What I mean is, if Iâ€™m a vampire, can I have some powers that I can use freely and save the Feeding Dependency for the big guns?
The templates for the two types of character that have Feeding Dependency (White Court Vampire and Red Court Infected) both have a set list of powers that are linked to the dependency. These are mainly physical augmentations – Strength, Recovery, etc. The actual abilities that make them vampires – Blood Drinker and Addictive Saliva for Red Court, and Incite Emotion and Emotional Vampire for White Court – are not governed by the dependency. The listings for the different vampires in Our World have some extra powers that are governed by the dependency, and some that aren’t. My call on this would be to assess the individual power and ask if it’s something that the vampire learned, or is it something that he/she can do because she’s a vampire. If it’s learned, then it wouldn’t be governed by the Feeding Dependency (though I’d ask the player to make sure that the High Concept or another Aspect supported learning this type of power – A High Concept of Vampire Savage would not, in my opinion, make it likely that the character sat down and learned a spell to turn to mist, for example). If the power is something that the character does because he/she is a vampire, then I’d tie it to the Feeding Dependency.
From a min/max point of view, tying a new power to the Feeding Dependency essentially means getting a discount on it, so that’s something for the player to consider, as well.
3. Various sources have mentioned different categories of powers (â€œyou can select powers from the Creature Feature or Minor Talent categoryâ€). If itâ€™s not too much of a pain, can you fill in some of the other power categories?
It is not too much of a pain, but Rechan already beat me to it. The guy’s been busy while my back’s been turned! 😉
Rel Fexive says:
Youâ€™re doing great work here!
Thanks! I’m glad so many people seem to be enjoying it.
I have a question: harking back to all the talk about Thaumaturgy and the Complexity of spells, can you give us an idea about the various levels of Complexity and what sort of things you can do at each?
Here’s a list of effects from the Thaumaturgy section, along with the Complexity of each:
- Dreamless Sleep (Easy Version): 4-6, depending on duration.
- Dreamless Sleep (Weapons-Grade Version): 6-12, depending on duration.
- Entropy Curse (Mild): 9, based on target’s Discipline.
- Entropy Curse (Weapon’s Grade): 26, based on target’s Discipline.
- Extended Divination: 8 or 9 at least, sometimes up to 16 or more.
- Faerie-Trapping Spell (Pixie Strength): 4. More powerful faeries are tougher.
- Harry Blinds the Loup-Garou: 9, based on conflict.
- Harry’s Tracking Spell: 2-8, based on difficulty of Investigate task.
- Illumina Magnus (Magically Dusting for Prints): 3-8
- Memorium, Memoratum, Memoritus: 5, based on the ghosts being present and tagging all in the zone with one Aspect.
- Mind-Fog: 12, based on conflict and covering 3 zones
- Nevernever Crossover Detection: 8
- Phobophage Redirection: 14, based on conflict.
- Reading the Dead Eyes: 4-10, based on the time since death.
- Reiki Healing Spell: 8-10, based on the consequence healed.
- Victor Sells’s Heart-Exploding Spell: 32, based on conflict.
- Zombie Animation: 6-10 for summoning the spirit, based on conflict, and 10-14 for binding it, based on conflict and duration.
Cheers! Keep up the good work!
I’ll keep doing this as long as I get questions that I can answer. When things start getting too niggling or the answers start being entire sections of the book, then I’ll pull the plug.
What I find slightly annoying is that Sorcerers are pretty much identical to Wizards, mechanically. The only difference is thus:
Wizards get Wizards Constitution and Soulgaze. They also MUST take The Sight. Sorcerers have the option (but it says that almost all of them DO, and theyâ€™d be â€œflying blindâ€ without it).
So thereâ€™s not a lot of mechanical distinction between the two. Hell, you could take a Wizard and call him a sorcerer because heâ€™s self-taught. The main distinction is fluff. So why make a distinction in mechanics I donno.
Also, Iâ€™ve not delved into the â€œmaking your own powers/spellsâ€ chapter, Rick. But I had an idea of a monster with a power that basically is an attack that does damage to the target, but â€œhealsâ€ the monster. Not quite the same as a Hunger Dependency (it doesnâ€™t need to feed, but feeding makes it heal). The idea being a Mummy whose touch dessicates the target, while giving it back vitality. Iâ€™m not sure how to DO this (or even if itâ€™s balanced; thatâ€™d make it REALLY LETHAL).
Fred jumped on both of these in the comment thread. Thanks, Fred!
I guess there ought to be a â€˜Wizard Watchdogs +1â€² flaw for Wizards, given how the council is fairly on-top of them.
You could do that, I guess, but given the few other +1 powers out there and how restrictive they are, I think this is too big a bonus. Especially during the War, when the Council is focused externally and pretty short of Wardens. I’d suggest instead taking an Aspect like The Council is Keeping an Eye on Me, which could be used for compels when the character is thinking of playing loose with the Laws of Magic, and also could be invoked for help if the character needs to get in touch with the Council.
Thanks for the answers.
The Ascension Rite does look like a Big Bad Plot Device. I personally was going to use it for an origin story.
Imagine an Aspect, â€œFailed Ascension Riteâ€
Jon Hammersley says:
Will there be a â€œsuggested readingâ€ section with some places to start mining ideas for different magical cultures (i.e. Native American Spirit magic, Voodoo, Chinese Daoist magic, etc). Another thing Iâ€™d like to see would be more generic examples of beings not mentioned in the books (Babba Yaga, Rasputin, Jack-in-Irons, etc). I suppose these might be statted out already (Hag, Giant, Creepy Priest with Craaaaazy eyes, etc) but Iâ€™d like to know if they are actually called out by their more familiar names as examples.
Currently, there is not a suggested reading/viewing section. If people are interested, I could certainly compile a list of decent books for game-level research on different magical traditions and post it here.
As for the creatures not mentioned in the books, not a lot on them. Mainly just mentions like “this is one version, there are other variants.” Honestly, though, building and modifying creatures and other foes in this system is pretty easy – five minutes with the books and a pencil, and you’ve got a highly-customized version, especially if you work more with the Aspects than the powers.
Aspects, people. That’s where it’s at with FATE-based games!
I just thought of a good question.
Necromancy. I assume it is linked to spirit and zombie hordes require thaumaturgy.
You got it. There’s about a page of info on Necromancers in general, including a short bit on the Disciples of Kemmler, many of which get statted out (though not in the same section).
What do they have to say about Kemmler?
There’s about half a page on Kemmler himself, the most telling bit being Bob’s marginal note that if you have the slightest suspicion you might be encountering Heinrich Kemmler, RUN THE HELL AWAY! No stats, of course. He’s in that plot-device villain category. Several of his disciples – Grevane, Cowl, Corpsetaker, and Kumori – get their own entries. Corpsetaker (-17), Grevane (-19), and Kumori (-8) all get stat blocks, though with the usual this-is-a-starting-point caveat.
Again thanks for answering all these questions Rick! (Also to Rechan since youve started too)
Just a question about skills. Have they changed much since Spirit of the Century? Have any been removed or added in or perhaps changed what they do?
They’ve been tuned a little bit to better reflect the source material. This is mainly little things – Academics becomes Scholarship, for example – and tweaks to the applications to better reflect the modern era. Essentially, though, they’re pretty much the same as SotC.
Chad Underkoffler says:
Rick, hereâ€™s a challenge: estimate the refresh level of BTiLCâ€™s Lo Pan.
A challenge! The gauntlet has been hurled! You’re on, sir! And I will show my work for extra credit. 😀
- Obviously, he’s got both Thaumaturgy and Evocation: -6
- It’s Sponsored Magic, tied into the demons he’s made his bargains with, giving him more power, but a couple of curses: -2 (based on Unseelie Magic)
- Let’s throw in a couple more levels of Refinement, just to round him out: -2
- Now, his funky two-forms. He’s got his Human Form at +2, because he can’t control the change himself. His powerful form has Hulking Size (-2) and Spirit Form (-3). In both forms, he’s got Wizard’s Constitution (-0).
- What else? Let’s see. Demesne (-1), of course. The Sight (-1). No evidence of an explicit Soulgaze, but Jack is temporarily blinded by meeting his eyes when they go all glowy, so let’s give him that, too, at no extra cost, because he already has the Sight.
- Oooh! Domination (-2)! Yeah, it could have been a Thaumaturgic ritual, but it works pretty quick, so let’s give him the power.
- He’s broken at least the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Laws of Magic, so that’s 4 x Lawbreaker (-4)
- Marked By Power (-1)
- Swift Transition (-2) to explain his vanishing acts and ability to show up almost anywhere.
So, that’s a total of -22. I could see giving him a couple more levels of Refinement, and maybe a few Mortal Stunts to round him out, but that’s my baseline.
How do soulgaze, sight, and Wizards Constitution operate?
Well, I’m not going to lay out all the mechanics, but here’s how it works in a nutshell.
Soulgaze: This is a mutual mental attack, which can allow the participants to assess Aspects of the other participant if they do well. There is a real possibility of taking mental stress, though.
The Sight: This allows you to make an Assessment of the surrounding area using magical vision, so you can pick up the mystical Aspects of things you examine. It also can cause mental stress.
Wizard’s Constitution: The long life part of Wizard’s Constitution doesn’t really affect game play, but the other part of this is that you can eventually heal from pretty much anything that doesn’t kill you. It just takes time – sometimes a really long time, because it doesn’t actually speed the healing. It just makes it happen.
@Chad â€“ That would be awesome indeed! Hmmâ€¦ would that make Egg Shen a local Wizard? What stats would you give the Six Demon Bag as a focus?
Yeah, I’d rule Egg Chen would be a Wizard. His Six-Demon Bag I’d stat as a focus item (probably Power rather than control) for each of the six Chinese elements – metal, water, wood, earth, fire, spirit – one demon for each element. That strikes me as a cool little item. In fact, it strikes me as so cool, I’d probably give old Egg the Aspect Six-Demon Bag, so he could tap it to help his spellcasting.
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow if anyone posts any more questions.